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Ask Max: Aluminum PowerBook Memory installed, but missing

Asked on 11/15/2006:

I have a 1.23 GHZ PowerBook 15" I got from PowerMax in June '04. It runs fine. I just noticed my memory indicator showed only 256MB and I thought I had 512MB. So I looked inside where there were 2 256MB cards. But the computer was recognizing only one, indicating the bottom slot was empty. I switched the two cards and it still indicated top full bottom empty.Now the weird part.. (to me)I removed the top card and it then indicated lower full top empty.I replaced the top card (both cards now in) so it was the same as when I started and it again indicated lower empty, top full.So both cards seem to be functional and both slots are able to recognize a card at certain times. I would like to upgrade/repair memory to at least a useable 512 and am not sure how to proceed.Any help would be appreciated.


This weird memory error is a not too uncommon failure of some 15" Aluminum PowerBooks. In one particular version of the G4 PowerBook, a problem like yours occurred enough times that Apple has a repair extension program for it (Apple Tech Article).. Although this repair extension does not cover your 1.25 GHz PowerBook, you can read through the symptoms and see that it is very similar to the problem your PowerBook developed.The solution to the problem is to replace the logic board. That is an expensive repair and not the most appealing option you would hope for.. The most cost effective solution would be to buy a single RAM chip in the total size you want and install it in the good RAM slot. A 1 GB stick could be a good combo upgrade and repair for you. It would cost much less than replacing the logic board.Hope that clears up the weirdness.

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